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Singer Sues Doctor Over Voice

Julie Andrews has filed a malpractice suit against Mount Sinai Hospital and two doctors, saying they destroyed her singing voice in a botched operation.

"Singing has been a cherished gift, and my inability to sing has been a devastating blow," said the 64-year-old star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

Andrews announced in February she has been unable to sing since she had surgery to remove non-cancerous throat nodules in 1997. She was starring in Victor/Victoria on Broadway at the time of the surgery.

The lawsuit alleges Andrews was never told the operation carried the risk of permanent hoarseness, "irreversible loss of vocal quality" or other complications that might leave her unable to sing.

"It ruined her ability to sing and precluded her from practicing her profession as a musical performer," according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

Andrews, who won an Oscar for her role in Mary Poppins, is demanding "substantial damages to compensate for loss of past and future earnings."

In an interview last month with CBS Early Show anchor Bryant Gumbel, Andrews said she was hopeful that her condition would improve.

"I'm optimistic and hope I will [sing again]," she said. "There are good days and bad days, and I need to work on it really hard in order to get back up again, and then I don't know what I'll discover. But right now, I'm optimistic."

The lawsuit accused Dr. Scott Kessler of operating on both sides of Andrews' vocal cords, though there was "no reason to perform surgery of any kind." Kessler's partner, Dr. Jeffrey Libin, was also named.

Mount Sinai spokeswoman Karen Arthur said hospital officials had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

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